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         Brian was making tea, waiting for the kettle to boil. He had been working all morning and needed a break. It was stupid really, he had rented the cabin to get a break, to get away from all this, but he couldn’t seem to stop. It was almost compulsive, just one more thing and he’d stop. He didn’t even know why he brought stuff with him, thoughts of perusing documents at night and relaxing during the day had run through his head, but once he started, he couldn’t stop. He’d been out here for a few days and hadn’t yet properly relaxed. He would though, just a little more work, that’s all. He was almost finished anyway.

        He wondered vaguely what he’d do when the work was completed. He had brought a few books but they probably wouldn’t last long, there was no TV here, he wasn’t a great fisherman either nor did fancy any outdoor activities there. He had only gone fishing once as a kid and barely remembered it. His main memory consisted of catching a small fish, then letting it go because he didn’t want it to die. It seemed unlikely that fishing this time would be any more successful. He could think of meditating, but on what? It had seemed like such a nice thing, when he was looking at the description on his computer. A nice break from everything, but he was quickly learning it was actually a complete break from everything. At least there was electricity. He wondered if anyone actually rented these neighbouring cabins, but someone must.

          The last few nights passed quickly enough, he had worried that the strange noises of the woods would keep him awake but that wasn’t the case at all, for the first few minutes it was odd, the animal noises, creaking trees, rustling leaves and insects buzzing but it quickly became soothing and he slept through the night, feeling refreshed and restored when he woke up to the golden rays of the sun pouring into the cabin. He poured the boiled water into his cup and took it with him back to the desk. He sat, looking out of the window, sipping occasionally. This was peaceful, almost relaxing. Brian looked at the papers on the desk and had lost all interest, it could be done later. He was lost in his thoughts, not really paying much attention to anything when a woman appeared. At first he assumed that she was another renter, like him from the city who had come out into the woods for a week or two, but that didn’t seem quite right. She moved along the tree line, staying close, as though nervous by the empty open space. She froze, her head slowly turning towards his cabin. She looked directly at him.

          He continued to stay where he was. It was kind of creepy that he was looking at her, but then she was the most interesting thing outside the window. He started jerk his head away from her whenever they made eye contact, not knowing what to do, She turned slowly and started to walk towards the cabin. He wondered what exactly she was going to do, she didn’t seem like she lived in the woods, she looked nervous, but at the same time she wasn’t running. Maybe she had gotten lost and feared wild animals and was merely surprised to see a cabin. But if that was the case surely she would have been more eager to get there, maybe even running towards it. Though they were in the woods and as far as she was aware this could be the only cabin occupied but what if he was psychotic. Maybe he would act the same if their positions were reversed. Rather than going to the door, he continued to look out of the window, she didn’t seem to realise he was there, not yet anyway.

          She paused a few times while crossing the short clearing, but she reached the porch quickly enough. She climbed the stairs slowly, pausing in front of the door before he could hear her heavy footsteps moving around the porch. He waited, listening. Suddenly she was at the window, he jumped, almost spilling his tea. She pressed against the window, hands against the glass, staring in. she looked around the room, though she never looked directly at him. She stayed there for a few minutes, staring in, before moving back slightly. He took the time to study her, she didn’t appear to be able to see him and though he had waved at her she hadn’t responded. Her skin was pale and she was quite beautiful, high cheekbones, full lips. Her eyes were an odd shade, slightly purple, behind the bright blue. Her hair was brown and short just the way he fancies a woman’s hair to be, a few strands blowing across her face in the light breeze.

        He stood and went to the door, wondering if she was alright. He was about to open the door when something banged into it, he jumped and moved back slightly, wondering if he should open it. After all, she might be insane. Something again banged at the door, he turned and looked towards the window she had been standing at, she was still there. Again the banging reoccurred. She didn’t seem to hear it at all. He wondered if maybe she was just a distraction that he was supposed fall for and open the door to find someone else standing there with a gun or worse a saw or an axe. She moved her head back, as though sniffing the  air, she darted out of view of the window. He couldn’t hear her moving, the silence seemed heavy and oppressive.

        There was a light knocking on the door, a soft voice, “Is anyone there? Please. Please let me in.” He moved closer to the door, listening carefully, he could hear the fear in her voice, “Please, before it gets me. Oh god, if there’s anyone in there, please, please let me in.” He wondered what he should do. It could be a trap but she sounded frightened, he couldn’t just abandon someone like that, could he? He could hear her sobbing faintly. Brian spoke in a loud whisper.“Who are you?”. “Oh thank god, please, let me in, there isn’t much time, I’ll explain when I’m inside.” “Tell me who you are first” “My name is Laurel, I was staying in a cabin not too far from here, I was walking through the woods when something started to chase me, please let me in, quickly.” He debated various ideas for himself for a few seconds then opened the door. She pushed past him and slammed to door behind her, almost immediately something hit the door again. She locked the door then turned and threw her arms around Brian, “Thank you, thank you.” He heard something moving outside, toward the window. Laurel released him from her softly hard grip, he moved towards the window. she grabbed his hand .“Don’t!” she said widening her eyes almost in tears.“I have to see what it is, once I do I can call someone and they can tell us how to deal with the animal.” “It’s not an animal. I don’t know what the hell is it, just don’t look at it.” There was a scurrying noise outside, “wait, you have a phone?” “Yeah! right over there.” “We can call for help.” “Ok, you go call for help, I’ll look and see what the animal is, they’ll need to know.” “Who should I call?” “Park services or something. I’m not sure, the manager left a number in case there was trouble, we could call him.” He stood at the window, craning his neck trying to see what ever had been chasing her, but there was nothing. Laurel started dialling, the phone rang once, twice. Then went dead. “The phones are dying.” Laurel panicked “What? How?” said Brian in a bit of shock himself.  “I don’t know! I don’t know. Do you have a mobile?” “No, I was told there would be no service here so I didn’t bother.” “ Damn! I thought the same.” “So we just wait here until it gets bored and finds easier prey. There’s enough food for the two of us for a few days at least.” again something banged against the door. Laurel jumped, “If you’re sure.” “Yeah, it’ll be fine, some animal will wander past and it will get distracted and leave.” The banging continued more frantic than before.

         The day passed slowly, they tried to talk but that banging kept interrupting the. He had tried to look out the window to see it, but he couldn’t. He tried to open the window to look out but Laurel stopped him, fear bright in her eyes. Brian tried to reassure her but it didn’t work. He decided that once she was asleep he could have a look then. The animal didn’t come near the windows, probably unaware it was a weaker point.

        They waited and waited, but the animal never seemed to tire, Brian began to wonder if it would eventually break through the door. That thought triggered something and the fear slowly kicked in. That or the constant banging would kill it. Surely it must have a concussion or something at this point. There was a latch on the door and he figured that he could latch the door and open it slightly to look out. That way he could slam it closed again quickly and if he couldn’t the chain would prevent the animal from getting in. It was a thick chain, sturdy but rusted.

         Laurel was lying on the couch, resting. She had been running for almost two hours, wandering for a few more, she was tired. He eased the handle open, the animal seemed to have grown slightly bored, there hadn’t been any banging in a few minutes. The lock clicked, Laurel sat up, looking around for the noise, she spotted Brian, “No! What the hell are you doing” She got up, running around the couch to stop him, he pulled the door open slightly, peering through the gap, unaware of Laurel moving behind him. He peered into the darkness, trying to make anything out. Something leaped towards the door. He froze, his mind trying to decipher what it was. He stared at it, unable to comprehend. It slammed into the door, the chain breaking as if it was made from paper. Laurel screamed, turning from the door she ran towards the window, hoping to escape while it fed on Brian. She had seen bright spurts of blood, and the screams echoed in the wooden cabin, it was too late for him. She could hear tearing as it ate, then the crackling of breaking bones. It watched her as she opened the window, it was in no rush, it had just fed but now it would continue its fun. It devoured its meal and stood, licking the blood from its maw, nothing remained of Brian, everything had been consumed. It stretched and then moved forward towards the window crouching, following her scent.

        She lifted the window open looked into its eyes and smiled. She slowly jumped the window and ran into the woods.

-Jeevith

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